Hi! I’m Lauren.
In short, I am a Registered Dietitian working for dining services at a large university in Houston, Texas. My professional and academic interests lie in the different roles that dietitians can play to improve the health of their communities. Personally, I am also an avid runner, hiker, and outdoor enthusiast with a serious love of food, dogs, and farmers markets. Here’s the long version:
I was born and raised in Western Massachusetts, where I went to UMass Amherst. Combine my major – Human nutrition – with the food culture of the Pioneer Valley and my involvement with teaching group fitness, the alpine ski team, and a budding love of running and I couldn’t not become an RD.
I completed my dietetic internship at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana (best city in the world). My internship was community nutrition-focused, so I experienced a lot of non-clinical areas of nutrition in addition to standard hospital dietetics. Through my rotations I came to realize that RDs have a unique set of skills that are completely underutilized. My passion for learning more about non traditional roles for RDs, drinking Cool Brew coffee, and a new appreciation for cured meats was born.
Immediately after the internship, I began working for a health insurance company. Weird, I know. My job was to collaborate with small business HR and leadership to determine ways to increase the health and productivity of their workers. I learned a TON about business and how to get things done, as well as applying the scientific model to non-scientific things (i.e. will incentives for manufacturing employees to take a biometric screening result in reduced claims the following year, or should we require a PCP visit?) and how to collect the right data to build a business case for improved employee health. I can say for certain that I never would have gained these skills if not for this job.
It wasn’t, however, using my RD credentials. When I relocated to Houston, TX I decided to keep my eyes open for something that allowed for 1:1 patient interaction, and luckily I found it. After 2.5 years of working at an onsite health clinic alongside a physician, nurse practitioner, and two nurses, I decided it was time for a change.
Currently, I find myself working as the Director of Wellness and Sustainability for a university system. This means I wear a lot of hats, and do a lot less counseling. I work on projects as varied as developing and managing the campus farmers market to landfill diversion initiatives so that we reduce the amount of trash produced at the dining halls. Most importantly, I’m surrounded by excellent people and food – a true dream!
I am currently pursuing my MPH (slowly but surely) in Applied Community Health at UT Health’s school of public health. I am also part of Team Trail Racing Over Texas and have spent my time in Texas exploring the state by way of trail races when I’m not working hard to crush it on the roads. In 2018, I’ll run the Boston marathon in April, get married in July, and run the New York City marathon ON MY BIRTHDAY! How’s that for a jam-packed year?